Kieran Foran has revealed he fought back tears when breaking the news to his Manly teammates that he will be joining the Titans next season.
In an interview withNews Corp, the 31-year-old conceded he always knew he would have to move on from his beloved Sea Eagles but is confident that No.6 in waiting, Josh Schuster, is “ready to step up.”
Foran is also confident he can prove the “pessimists” wrong when it comes to concerns about whether his body will hold up.
Foran has signed a two-year deal with the Titans reportedly worth $400,000 per season. It will be his fifth club and potentially where he will end his NRL career.
Foran told his teammates after their 36-22 win over the Tigers at 4 Pines Park on Saturday.
“I spoke to all the boys in the sheds after the (Tigers) game and I got pretty emotional telling them I was going,” Foran told News Corp.
“Manly have been brilliant. I honestly can’t say a bad word about them.
“I’m realistic about the situation. When I took this Manly deal, I did it knowing it would be two years for me and that’s it.
“Manly have so much talent coming through and just the way the salary cap is and the players they have, I always knew it was likely to be a two-year thing.
“In an ideal world, it would have been nice to stay on, but I had to be open to opportunities that are out there.
“Manly are in a good position to move on from me. They have Josh Schuster who is an enormous talent. He is so gifted and he is ready to step up.”
Foran revealed that when he realised he’d have to leave Manly he instantly turned his eyes to the Titans and said it was the “easiest deal” he’s ever done with a club.
The New Zealand Test star began his NRL career in 2011 with Manly before joining the Eels in 2016 then the Warriors in 2017. He then inked a three-year deal with the Bulldogs but a horror run with injuries saw the Dogs opt against offering him an extension.
Foran returned to Manly and reunited with his 2011 premiership-winning halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans and coach Des Hasler.
He’ll join a young Titans side next season that’s desperate for an experienced playmaker and Foran’s 247 NRL games and 22 Tests makes him the perfect fit.
Foran is also looking forward to linking up with Gold Coast’s million-dollar superstar David Fifita.
“When it became clear I was leaving Manly, I rang manager and said I would like to keep playing, so let’s see what else is out there,” he said.
“Deep down, I had my eye on the Gold Coast. I thought the Titans would be a good fit for me. Once Chris Orr (his manager) reached out to them, we got it done quickly, it was the easiest deal I’ve ever done.
“The Titans have a good young side but they probably need some guidance and I have been around the game a long time. Toby Sexton is a good young talent and I think I can form a good combination with him and hopefully play finals footy with the Titans.
“I’m also looking forward to playing with a guy like David Fifita. He is a guy who wins matches and I think a player like myself, I can link well with David and I would love to have him running off me.
“He is such a big, explosive body with footwork and speed and if you can put him in the right positions on the field, he can really do some damage.”
Foran endured a horror injury run during his time at the Bulldogs, hampering him to just 40 games in three seasons.
But he played 25 games for Manly last season and all nine games this year so is confident his aging body won’t be an issue at the Titans. He also hasn’t ruled out playing on beyond 2024 despite turning 34 in the final season of the two-year deal.
“I am confident I am not a risk for the Titans,” Foran said.
“I can understand the pessimists out there saying I’ve had my fair share of injuries and why would the Titans sign me, but I have shown in the past 18 months the hard work I have done has paid off for my body.
“I have stood up week to week for 80 minutes and my body is truly ready for the physicality of the game today.
“I’m proud of the way I have soldiered on. My career has been dead and buried four or five times and I just kept picking myself up and proving I can keep doing the job.
“I would have played for free in the NRL because I knew deep down my body had more to give.
“That period forced me to look into my training methods and I definitely feel I’m a stronger player and person for what I went through. I have no doubt I will stay on the park for the Titans with the way I look after myself.
“When my Titans deal ends, I will be 34, but it comes down to form doesn’t it?
“If I am playing good footy and the Titans are winning games, there is no reason there has to be an end point.
“But I understand it’s a results-driven business and that will determine whether I continue on with the Titans or whether this next deal will be it.
“It’s on me to perform.”
Perhaps the hardest person to part with will be Hasler, who, according to News Corp, made a last-minute effort to offer Foran a new deal.
Foran is understood to be earning $270,000 this season but Manly couldn’t find the cap space to match the Titans’ $400,000-a-season offer.
After winning a premiership together, Hasler and Foran have remained close. Hasler signed him to the Dogs and then threw him a lifeline back at Manly.
“Me and Des are so close,” he said.
“I love him like a father.
“He has been so loyal to me throughout my career and it’s fair to say he has believed in me from the day I debuted for the Sea Eagles.
“He has never lost faith in me and I would like to think I came back to the club and gave them value for money and played my heart out for him and the Manly fans.
“I will forever be grateful to Des. He believed in me when others didn’t and I am a bloke that repays loyalty. If someone believes I can offer something, I will repay the faith.”
Foran will also have to juggle expectations as a parent when he relocates to the Gold Coast.
According toThe Sydney Morning Herald, Foran and his wife have family in Queensland but his kids live in Sydney.
But before he starts looking at the next chapter Foran still has one more job to do.
“I want another premiership before I go, spot on,” he said.
“Manly means so much to me and I want to throw everything into the next six months and go after another premiership with Manly.
“It would be the ultimate dream to win another grand final. I know how hard it is to win a premiership, but I know we have the squad to be a finals team and to challenge for the title, I have no doubt in my mind.”